JUST A LITTLE NOTE: Many of you by now will already know of the sadness and cloak of darkness surrounding Crufts this year. There are some important points that need to be, and that I want, to address. However, when my friend Susie and I attended we were blissfully unaware of the circumstances that were to come. It’s difficult, since I am writing retrospectively, to not think of all this when documenting our day but I feel it only fair to separate these topics. I do not think that the disgustingly deplorable actions of a few vile ‘humans’ should be allowed to completely overshadow the astonishingly good and amazing examples of the bond between dog and human, that most of us visit Crufts to enjoy.
Now on with the fun…
FRIDAY 6 MARCH | 2015
Hurray! The day finally arrived. It felt like it never would. We chose to attend Crufts on Friday this year, as I’m sure I have mentioned before there are so many ways to pick which day is best for you. Friday (and they do swap them around every year, just so you know) was ‘Working and Pastoral’ day, which meant that they were the dog ‘groups’ being judged that day, for entry into Best in Show on the Sunday. So why didn’t you go on ‘Terrier and Hound’ day or ‘Toy and Utility’ day? I hear you ask… well, because generally, for me, the actual ‘showing’ parts of Crufts are the bits I find least interesting. Oh, I love to see all of the different breeds and hear about who wins their ‘group’ or ‘Best in Show’ of course, but actually sitting and watching it happen? Nah, are you kidding me? There’s so many more exciting things to see and do… So I do those instead.
There was also a slight hope that going on a ‘school day’ would maybe, hopefully, mean fewer people too…
…just so you know, that’s a tiny strip of one of the FIVE halls, heading towards closing time 😉
Not to worry, for a more professional look at what it actually look like out there, why not let Reamus show you:
SO WHAT DID WE DO?
Well, since the Birmingham NEC is a good three hour journey away by car, you might have thought that we pinned our itinerary down to minute detail on the way? Erm. We had a look at the agenda and decided the parts we definitely, absolutely, couldn’t miss, and pretty much agreed to play it by ear.
For Susie, the most important thing was to lay her hands on some fur and cuteness. Not a problem, heading on over to the ‘Discover Dogs’ area in Hall 3 it was then. And for me, I particularly wanted to see some doggies dancing, so the activities in the ‘Arena’ were also a must. So, that’s where we headed first, since getting a good seat is important and ‘Heelwork to Music’ (dancing doggies!!!) started quite early.
HEELWORK TO MUSIC
I appreciate that the concept of Heelwork to Music, and in fact just seeing a random image of it in practice, seems pretty bonkers. Describing it to people, doesn’t make you sound any more sane either, to be honest. BUT this activity is fun with bells on! You just get sucked right in, or at least I do. The dogs LOVE it, you can see it in their little faces and with every wag of their tail… as well as the odd little bark (that they take marks off in scoring for… I still haven’t found out why, but I will).
*Sigh* Here’s a little link to exactly what we watched in the arena that day… if you can hear sobs of joy coming from the audience, it’s probably me…
Ok so… when the competition had ended (and I’d composed myself as the last one was particularly sad) there was a handy break. It was handy because otherwise you’ll just stay there all day. So we made ourselves move.
Crufts is a dog-shoppers dream! But to be fair, although we like to have a little browse and hopefully pick a few bits up, it’s the least important thing for either of us. I mean, we’d be in serious trouble if we didn’t go back with ANYTHING but we tend to scour the halls on our way to do other bits and pieces. This works out fairly well, since The Arena is in Hall One and Discover Dogs is right at the back of Hall Three… You’ve covered half of it right there.
I’m sure I’ve explained before what exactly Discover Dogs is, but in case you’ve forgotten, it’s basically ALL the dog breeds, in group and alphabetical order with their owners/breeders. You can go up, have a stroke and a cuddle if you’re lucky, and find out all about the breed. Some stands even have print outs with information, which is so handy if you are actually researching. For Susie and I though, it’s basically all about the cuddles.
Don’t be alarmed, those pens/crates are actually a lot bigger than they look. It’s not very easy to get a lot of great photographs and it’s ALWAYS very busy, but this is the best place to get your hands on some puppies at Crufts!
AROUND AND ABOUT
There are always plenty of dogs around and about here though, you often see people walking one by, and as dog owners they sense your eagerness and will usually stop and let you meet and greet. After we had our fill of paw shakes and cuddles we (read: the dogs went home) we moved on again, throughout the halls and stalls and stands. By this point, I think we were both really tired and when we turned a corner I thought I was hallucinating. Everywhere I looked there was a Labrador or a Retriever, I decided to follow the trail just in case and this is what I spotted…
This photograph does not do the situation any justice, I swear, beautiful yellow coats were all over the place. It turns out these dogs aren’t just pretty faces though, they are life savers! Heroes. Official name being; ‘Medical Detection Dogs’ and their charity was receiving an award so they all decided to grace the photo-op, isn’t that lovely?
We didn’t get much further along before I thought my mind was playing tricks on me, again.
I thought Myfie and Ellie had donned their disguises and followed us to Birmingham!
These two cuties, actually are from Manchester and Cheshire Dogs Home, though. After the tragic events in 2014 which I am sure you all remember so well MCDH were invited along to represent at Crufts. They decided it would be a great idea, so they could thank personally so many of us who donated. The gentleman I spoke to was lovely, and the emotion in his voice as he spoke revealed just how much, each and every bit of help had meant to them all. It was so lovely to see these beautiful, happy pups, having so much fun.
Well, and much-needed rest 😉
We headed back to the Arena to watch some talented pooches using up their energy in a much more productive way then we could manage. I love watching the sporting events, agility and flyball both get your adrenaline pumping, and again, the dogs just seem to be having SO much fun! Unlike with the very serious :p Heelwork to Music competition, these pups get NO points deducted for shouting their heads off along the way… and so they do! And it’s great.
Scruffts, sponsored by James Wellbeloved, is the nation’s favourite crossbreed competition. Scruffts was launched back in 2000 at the Discover Dogs Show and is now celebrated with the grand final at Crufts. We were lucky enough to see the finalists and hear their stories, all so beautiful and deserving, and then watch the winner take their trophy.
The lovely, Gracie in the Golden Oldie Category took this years Crossbreed of the Year title.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
AND THEN WE WENT HOME.
Our day had just about come to a close, but on the way out we remembered a few things we had seen while we ‘weren’t shopping’ and thought we’d end the day on a high note; with presents to take back to Dinx, Myfie, Ellie and Millie our very own ‘Best(s) in Show’ no matter what any judge thinks. So there!
I realise this post is ridiculously long and full of links and pictures etc. but believe me, I cut SO much out! If you can stand to see any more I’ll be uploading the rest of the photos to our Facebook page where you can peruse at your leisure! Have any questions for us? Pop them in the comments, and let us know which event you would have made a bee-line for!
Thanks, as always, for reading,
Carrie and Pups x
What? you want a reward for reaching the end? Oh go on then… this will make you laugh. Here are some dogs, being dogs, ay Crufts: